Science, as you may have heard, has evolved.
These days, the field of study’s leaving the laboratory to solve societal woes.
Cases in point:
Lately, the discipline’s pummeling a problematic science fiction saga.
In the new edition of Scientific American, five experts offer analysis.
“Within the narrative world of Star Wars,” they observe, “to be a member of the Jedi is seemingly to be a paragon of goodness, a principled guardian of order and protector of the innocent.”
Yet, evil is afoot.
For one thing, the holy order’s corrosively corporate:
“Jedi” is more than just a name: It’s a product. Circulating that product’s name can promote and benefit the corporation that owns it, even if we do not mean to do so. We are, in effect, providing that corporation — Disney — with a form of free advertising, commodifying and cheapening our justice work in the process.
Moreover, keepers of the peace don’t keep with inclusion:
Those unfamiliar or uncomfortable with Star Wars — including those hurt by the messages it sends — may feel alienated by the parade of jokes, puns and references surrounding the term “Jedi.”
Most egregious, the world of blasters and battle droids is rife with that most dastardly of Dark Sides: white supremacy.
“Star Wars has a problematic cultural legacy,” the paper laments.
The space opera franchise has been critiqued for trafficking in injustices such as sexism, racism and ableism.
Consider “so-called ‘Slave Leia.'”
#CarrieFisher as #SlaveLeia in #StarWars #princessleia #70smovies @FilmTVLegends @Iconic___Images @CultoftheCinema @70sFilm @70sscifi @JosCarlosGmez7 @Panthera156 @cinemaofdreams @CHANNINGPOSTERS @Wahrhaftig @ClaudiaWebers @Manuelaotero6 @RuizVelvet92 @sim010101 pic.twitter.com/qu4tbA88ft
— Fabio Matteuzzi (@FabioMatteuzzi) September 19, 2021
Her being bound, the article asserts, employs the “first leading woman” in an “Orientalist subplot.”
Orientalism, essentially, otherizes anything not strong, masculine, and Western.
Additionally, Star Wars “conflates ‘alienness’ with ‘nonwhiteness.'”
It often relies “on racist stereotypes when depicting nonhuman species.”
Beyond that, Darth Vader’s vehicle should sport a parking placard:
The series regularly defaults onto ableist tropes, memorably in its portrayal of Darth Vader, which links the villain’s physical disability with machinic inhumanity and moral deviance, presenting his technology-assisted breathing as a sinister auditory marker of danger and doom.
Down with white centerism:
[T]he bodies and voices centered in Star Wars have, with few exceptions, historically been those of white men. And while recent films have increased gender and racial diversity, important questions remain regarding how meaningfully such changes represent a departure from the series’ problematic past. Indeed, a notable segment of the Star Wars fandom has aggressively advocated the (re)centering of white men in the franchise, with some equating recent casting decisions with “white genocide.”
And why is Scientific American so interested in Star Wars?
As the authors explain, an acronym has “become a popular term for branding academic committees and labeling STEMM…initiatives focused on social justice issues.”
Hence, a disturbance in the Force:
The abbreviation JEDI can distract from justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
When you think about the word JEDI, what comes to mind? Chances are good that for many, the immediate answer isn’t the concept “Justice” (or its comrades “Equity,” “Diversity” and “Inclusion”).
Furthermore, “The Jedi are inappropriate mascots for social justice.”
They are a religious order of intergalactic police-monks, prone to (white) saviorism and toxically masculine approaches to conflict resolution (violent duels with phallic lightsabers, gaslighting by means of “Jedi mind tricks,” etc.). The Jedi are also an exclusionary cult, membership to which is partly predicated on the possession of heightened psychic and physical abilities (or “Force-sensitivity”). Strikingly, Force-wielding talents are narratively explained in Star Wars not merely in spiritual terms but also in ableist and eugenic ones: These supernatural powers are naturalized as biological, hereditary attributes. … The heroic Jedi are thus emblems for a host of dangerously reactionary values and assumptions. Sending the message that justice work is akin to cosplay is bad enough; dressing up our initiatives in the symbolic garb of the Jedi is worse
So there ya go.
Might midi-chlorians be dog whistles for whiteness?
It’s all significant to note.
El fandom de Kit Fisto está muriendo, dale like si eres un fistero verdadero pic.twitter.com/wYmytgwC5E
— Eloy Musk (@ThatPBloke) September 17, 2021
Plo Koon? Nah. He's Space Dad. pic.twitter.com/lEvv38TrXJ
— 𝙎𝙥𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙁𝙤𝙭™ 👻 Spooky Prequel Hours 🖖 (@TheSpaceFoxSFW) September 20, 2021
Aayla Secura is one that I wish we had seen more of. Maybe somehow she’ll get her own story some day. pic.twitter.com/oCJ8PeII8W
— E. Lee Zimmerman 🇺🇸 (@ELeeZimmerman) September 24, 2021
And let’s not forget the two most powerful KKK members in the star system:
Mace Windu vs Yoda…who do you think would win?’ pic.twitter.com/QMLGXfqlmi
— Okiro (@TheFirstOkiro) August 25, 2021
Other white nationalists leading the Rebellion:
My 3 year old daughter came up to me and said, "It's a trap!" in her best Admiral Akbar impression.
The Force is strong in our parenting. pic.twitter.com/VhYeQB7aCC
— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) May 8, 2020
— Anna (@catsteaandabook) September 24, 2021
Publicity Still of R2-D2 from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back pic.twitter.com/wWT1tSJqpv
— Star Wars Archival (@SWArchival) September 18, 2021
Always been one of my favorites: Sullustan legend, Nien Nunb! pic.twitter.com/DWLngFsdrf
— Miles Keller (@MilesJansson) August 25, 2020
For final proof of Aryan Nation protagonism, consider the saga’s villain.
I give you the Supreme Leader, head of the Empire and the Sith — who in no way should be confused with a white male:
It’s very interesting how he manipulates people who trust around him – while destroying them at the same time, in order to finally announce himself as the Emperor, without their suspicions (initially of course). #StarWars#SheevPalpatine#DarthSidious
— LOVE💚MARK💚HAMILL💚 (@GabrielleOrlita) September 21, 2021
If you’re looking for white supremacy, as we’re perpetually informed, it’s as nearby as can be.
But you’ll also find it in a galaxy far, far away.
For those who doubt it…just follow the science — like a good wookiee.
Sorry — wokie.
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